For only the second time in 11 main draw matches at Roland Garros, Alexander Zverev recorded a straight sets triumph on Wednesday.
The fifth-seeded German will be relieved to have weathered a late comeback by Mikael Ymer of Sweden in a 6-1, 6-3, 7-6(3) victory in just under two hours for a place in the third round for a third straight year.
Last year, Zverev came through three five-set clashes en route to his first Grand Slam championship quarter-final (l. to Thiem) and then beat Australia’s John Millman 7-6(4), 6-3, 2-6, 6-7(5), 6-3 in the 2019 first round on Tuesday. Read More & Watch Highlights
“I think I’m playing well again,” said Zverev. “I think a lot of tight matches have helped me in Geneva and here in the first round. Today, I was swinging at the ball quite nicely and hitting it very aggressively and it was a very good match for me.
“In important moments, I’m finally being very aggressive and stepping up. I think especially against John [Millman] in the fifth set I stepped up a lot and this is, I think, what I’m happiest about.”
The 22-year-old struck 36 winners — including 12 aces — lost just 10 of his first-service points and won 20 of 27 points at the net. He was in complete control through to 5-3 in the third set against Ymer, was making his major championship debut this week, before the World No. 148 won three straight games. Zverev regrouped to win eight of the next 10 points to a 4/0 advantage in the tie-break.
Zverev will now face Serbian No. 30 seed Dusan Lajovic, who the German beat 2-6, 7-5, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2 in the 2018 Roland Garros second round. Lajovic, who has gone 3-4 since advancing to the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters final (l. to Fognini) on 21 April, knocked out French qualifier Elliot Benchetrit 6-3, 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.
Zverev is riding a six-match winning streak, which includes saving two match points against Nicolas Jarry in the Banque Eric Sturdza Geneva Open final on Saturday for his 11th ATP Tour title.